Career planning – we know it’s a worthwhile undertaking, but in today’s busy business world, it’s often pushed to the side in favour of more pressing tasks. Unfortunately, this can mean we ultimately find ourselves in a career rut.
Peeplcoach Founder Christine Khor (also the Managing Director of Chorus Executive) is a career-planning expert on a mission to help those in business plan ahead for more considered and fulfilling careers. Here, she shares some practical insights for creating your career plan and determining your next steps.
The benefits of having a career plan
As Christine explains, career planning benefits both individuals and organisations at large – yet many of us leave our careers up to chance. “Too many times people tell me that they don’t know how they got where they got to,” Christine says. “They’re in a role that they don’t enjoy but their title or salary is too large to allow them to easily change roles… or even worse, they no longer know what they want to do and don’t know how to change.”
In Christine’s view, a career plan is integral to identifying which opportunities will be right for you in the long-term. From knowing which promotions to chase, to what course to study or special projects you should put your hand up for, it will help make your decision-making easier.
Other benefits of career planning:
- You are likelier to end up where you want to go – not where others want you to go
- You are likelier to achieve your career goals more quickly
- You are better positioned to manoeuvre and survive possible career upheaval resulting from disruptions in your environment or workplace.
Christine recommends asking yourself the following questions before you commence planning:
- If it wasn’t for money, what would I love to do?
- If I look at what I am doing now – will I be happy doing it for another 20 years?
- What would I like to have achieved in my lifetime?
- What will my legacy be?
4 steps to creating your career plan
Career planning can be complex, so Christine recommends taking it one step at a time.
1. Understanding your goals
Before you jump in, take some time to research and reflect on what you want in the future. “Look at your CV and make a note of all your achievements to help you assess if your career is where you want it to be,” Christine recommends. “Then, ask yourself ‘What else do I need to do?’. It is important that you think big and bold and don’t be restricted by fear, what others think, or practicalities,” she says.
2. Research and reality
Once you have a general idea of where you might like to head career-wise, Christine recommends researching different careers, functions, and industries that interest you. At this stage, it’s also important to consider what might be required from you in order for you to succeed. “At Peeplcoach, we believe that anyone can achieve their career goals – it just depends on what you are willing to sacrifice, how hard you are prepared to work and how patient you are,” Christine says.
During this stage, you will work to determine your options and how you will move forward to make your career dream a reality. “We encourage individuals to create not only a vision but also an action plan to get them there,” Christine says. This may include further study or short courses, or volunteering for special projects at your current workplace to help you expand your skillset.
This step is all about execution. “Execution takes knowledge but also the right tools such as a well-written CV, an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and the ability to sell yourself in an interview,” Christine explains. “Whether you are positioning yourself for an internal or external promotion, it’s important you know how to present yourself to find the job you want,” she says.
Seeking counsel from others
In addition to the above steps, Christine believes it is critical to seek help and guidance from others when planning your career (and we couldn’t agree more!). She recommends consulting with a range of people – for example industry experts, trusted peers, a coach or a mentor – to help you explore and evaluate your options.
Speaking to your current manager may also be worthwhile – even though it might seem daunting. “It’s important to share your career plan with your manager as much as possible, especially if they can help you achieve your goals,” Christine says. “When presenting to management, make sure you have clear goal, have prepared for the conversation, and have specific questions to ask,” she says. Alternatively, you may also consider meeting with your manager’s manager or an HR representative – although if you are going to meet with your manager’s manager, Christine suggests letting your manager know as a courtesy.
Career coaching resources
Still struggling to get your career plan in place? As the founder of career-coaching resource Peeplcoach, Christine recommends working with professionals to help you develop an effective career plan. “Peeplcoach is an online career health and well-being platform that allows individuals to focus on their career in an easy way,” Christine shares about her startup. “Our exercises help individuals identify their passions, skills, values, behaviours, cultural fit or identify potential gaps or transferrable skills.”
Created to help individuals at all stages navigate the complexity of building their dream careers, resources like Peeplcoach are independent and confidential, allowing you to get the answers to your career questions without fear of judgement.
“Everyone’s career is important and as such is it critical to spend time creating the career you want, not just letting your career happen to you,” Christine says. “Whether it is via Peeplcoach, a traditional career coach or a trusted manager, make sure you talk to someone to help you plan the career you dream of.”